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Boffins link up with Cardwell to cultivate plant that grows sausages

HORTICULTURAL experts at a Scots garden centre have taken part in an amazing top-secret experiment to cultivate a plant that grows sausages.

French scientists turned to Cardwell Garden Centre, near Gourock for help to cross-pollinate three varieties of the legume plant species – tamarind, soya and mesquite – and create the world’s first edible Vegan Sausage Plant.

Sausages from the unique plant grow in the shape of and taste just like a real link sausage and hang from branches like bananas.

In the early stages of growth, the plant produces sausages that are green in colour, but once they ripen they turn the traditional pink hue.

And the Vegan Sausage Plant is ready for harvesting just in time for Cardwell’s reopening after lockdown on Monday, April, 5.

Following the success of the experiment, scientists and Cardwell’s horticultural experts have now started pollinating a plant that grows the vegan version of square slice Lorne sausage, which is much-loved on the nation’s breakfast plates.

Chefs at Cardwell’s Patio Cafe have been cooking and taste-testing the newly-grown sausages and say anyone eating them would be hard-pressed to notice any difference from a sausage bought in a butcher’s shop.

Professor Rolf L’Opia, from the Paris-based horticultural giants, L’Organics Francais said: “We are at the forefront of developing new plant-based foodstuffs, as many people around the world are turning to vegetarianism and this is a huge market for us.

“We chose Cardwell to develop the Vegan Sausage Plant because of its fantastic reputation as one of the top horticultural centres in the country.

“We were amazed at how quickly the horticultural staff at Cardwell have been able to develop and grow the Vegan Sausage Plant and we have now moved on to the next stage of developing and growing new plant-based food.

“We’re already working on the plant genetics of creating a plant that grows what you Scots call square slice.”

Cardwell’s retail general manager, Paul Carmichael said: “Since we started this experiment our staff have been sworn to secrecy, but now word has got out we are really excited to be part of a world-wide first.

“We hope it won’t be long before we’ll have enough plants bearing the sausage fruit to have them on the breakfast menu in our Patio Cafe and selling packs of them in our food section.

“If we can get a licensing agreement with L’Organiscs Francais, we’ll also be selling seeds for the Vegan Sausage Plant and people can grow sausages in their own back garden.”

Customers who would like to sample the latest batch of sausages from the Vegan Sausage Plant should         apply on the Cardwell Garden Centre Facebook page by noon today, April 1.

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